Three #1 Seeded teams fell at the vote of #8 Seeded teams in Round 2.
The Spectacular Sixteen now battle.
The finest college football helmets in the nation won their conference and the first two rounds of the Helmet Bowl I National Championship bracket. They each stand just four wins away from claiming the top spot–but those four wins will be hard to come by.
Voting in Round 2 was stunning. We lost some extremely strong helmets in Round 2 (Valdosta State anyone?) in tremendously close contests. Many were decided by less than 5 percent of the vote–which was in the thousands for every contest.
Students, fans, and alumni are necessary to win now.
What do we know about Round 3? What surprises and disappointments did we experience in Round 2? Read below.
What to Watch
The Colgate Raiders continue to surprise in the East Region. After playing to a tie in Conference standings, they destroyed Georgetown to enter the national bracket and now show strength, beating the consistently engaged Howard Bison. However, battling the mighty Gallaudet Bison presents a problem–Gallaudet brings with it the entire hard of hearing and deaf community in the nation to vote.
In the West, Helmet Bowl I sole NAIA team, the College of Idaho Coyotes face the mighty Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have cruised through Conference and National play with little attention. Voting has been somewhat lackadaisical–but not for the Yotes! This is a challenge, but if any small school has a chance against Oregon, it will happen this week!
In the South, the surging Kennesaw State Owls now face the consistently strong Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. This should be a see-saw battle that is fun to watch!
Also in the west, the K-State Wildcats matchup against the amazing and unique San Diego State Aztecs. This is one to watch!
In the other East semi-final, two teams who lead through their Conference play and faced a little challenge so far in the Nationals face off–Bowie State defeated a really beautiful Syracuse helmet and now plays against a favorite Army Black Knight helmet. Army's design doesn't exactly inspire, but Army is not exactly flashy–they get things done–functional. Do you see victory in this round?
Round 2 Upsets
In the East, the #8 Colgate Raiders slipped by #1 Howard Bison.
In the South, #8 VMI defeated #1 Valdosta State.
Also in the South, the #6 Georgia State Panthers defeated #4 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. For a couple days in Round 2, the Panthers lead all helmets in voting!
In the West, the #8 Coyotes of the College of Idaho defeated #1 NW Missouri State Bearcats. WoW!
Also in the West, though not a surprise but an upset nonetheless, Oregon (#6) defeated Trinity (#4).
We were surprised to see the Arkansas Razorbacks give a challenge to the K-State Wildcats. The long-derided SEC (in and out of Helmet Bowl) finally showed a bit of life, but not enough to upset the Wildcats. Of course, things have been a bit distracting with Arkansas lately. With a new coach and staff onboard now, these guys could make a strong run at Helmet Bowl II.
The Central Michigan Chippewas brought in the most votes in Round 2, edging out the UW Stout Blue Devils. The Chipps were the only undefeated team in Conference Championships, but the amount of voting in this contest stunned us at Helmet Bowl. The Chipps should have no problem advancing past the Greenville Panthers in Round 3, but anything can happen!
Round out the top 5 vote-getters in Round 2 are the Chipps opponent, UW Stout Blue Devils, then the Gallaudet Bison, Georgia State Panthers, and San Diego State Aztecs.
The Kennesaw State Owls beat the Lyon Scots by less than 2 percent! One solid freshman composition class voting could have saved it for the Scots!
Lowest Vote Moving to Round 3
The Greenville Panthers advance to Round 3 after gaining the least number of votes for a winning team. The McKendree Bearcats lost an opportunity here. The Panthers take on the strong VMI Keydets now and will need to double their vote to challenge for the win!
Most helmets eliminated in Round 2 were strong and held the interest of Helmet Bowl for months.
We are sorry to see the unique helmet of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags leave the competition. From our vantage point, CMS really never caught on in local voting (out of California) but in the true spirit of Helmet Bowl, its fine helmet caught the attention of college football helmet fans.
The #1 seeded teams who fell in Round 2 all had Equipment Managers who worked hard to support their helmets–Valdosta State Blazers, Howard Bison, and NW Missouri Bearcats. Phillip, Darren, and Tucker were all in touch with Helmet Tracker for months, putting the word out to their staff, team, and school. Thanks, guys!
We at Helmet Tracker are sorry to see the Stout Blue Devils leave the competition. This NAIA team caught fire in the last few weeks and really put the fear of defeat into every team they played, including the surprisingly strong Kennesaw State Owls in Round 2.